By Pat Mariboe
Elm Staff Writer
The Washington College baseball team spent spring break in Myrtle Beach, S.C., facing off against four different teams. The Shoremen traveled to the palmetto state last Sunday to face off in a double header against the College of Staten Island in the Ripken Experience.
The Staten Island Dolphins were off to a good start early in the first inning when a runner came through to home after a sacrifice fly to centerfield to give them the 1-0 lead. Sophomore Evan Hirschbaum rocketed the Shoremen back to life in the bottom of the second inning, hitting a triple to drive home freshman Wes Robertson. The Shoremen then scored three more runs in the same inning with hits from junior Garret Richardello, senior Brian Alexa, sophomore Logan Dubbe, and freshman Joe Lozupone to bring their lead to 4-1. The Shoremen would go on to dominate the rest of the game, scoring 10 unanswered runs to grant them the 14-1 victory in the first game of the double header. Richardello had a career high and game best four RBI in the victory.
In the second game of the double header, it was the Shoremen who got on the board first when freshman Ryan Donnelly hit a sacrifice fly to drive in sophomore Charlie Meder. The Dolphins tied things up later in the bottom half of the inning, to level the score at 1-1. It was the same story for the Shoremen in the first game, as they went on to score five unanswered runs and sweep the Dolphins in the double header, this time by the scoreline of 6-1. This is the first time since 2009 that the Shoremen had won consecutive games to start off the season. The double header wins were the first wins for new, first-year coach Matthew Reynolds.
“Coaching at Washington College has been a great experience for me thus far,” said Reynolds. “The Athletic Department, and the whole college for that matter, really exude a sense of family and support. I have had to lean on a lot of people here in my first few months, and everywhere I turn there is someone willing to help out. Coming from Navy as an assistant coach was a vastly different experience in the sense of transitioning into my first head coaching job and that Navy and Washington College are extremely different places in many ways. I have always pictured myself at a high-academic institution like Washington College. Although my experiences at UMass and Navy were terrific, I am very happy to have this opportunity here at WC.”
The Shoremen intended to keep their perfect start alive when they played their third game on Monday against the Mount Aloysius Mounties. The first run of the game was scored in the fifth inning, when Hirschbaum hit a double to bring Robertson home. In the sixth,Donnelly tripled to right center field to bring junior Bryan Baquer in for a run. The Shoremen would score the final run of the game when Robertson hit a sacrifice fly to center field to send in Donnelly to take the 3-0 lead, and ultimately the 3-0 victory.
In their fourth game, the Shoremen faced off against Penn State-Berks. The Nittany Lions started off hot, scoring seven times in the bottom of the first inning to take the lead. They would score once again in the second inning and then three more times in the fourth to take an 11-0 lead. Senior Kyle Miluka homered in the ninth, but it was not enough for the Shoremen, as they suffered their first defeat of the week, 11-2.
In their fifth and final game, the Shoremen battled against Penn College hoping to finish the tournament on a high note. However, the Shoremen were off to a slow start as the Wildcats scored three runs in the first inning to take the lead. The game was back and forth then, until in the fifth inning. The Shoremen fought back, scoring six runs to take a 6-1 lead. Washington College scored one more run in the sixth inning and despite the Wildcats scoring two runs late in the seventh inning managed to hold on taking a close 7-5 victory.
The Shoremen left Myrtle Beach posting a 4-1 record. They look to carry on with their good form when they face off against the Stevens Institute in their first home game of the season on March 17.
“Our goals for this season are to improve upon our record from last year and get ourselves into the conference playoffs to compete for the chance to play in the NCAA tournament,” said Reynolds. “More important to me in this first year is exactly what you asked about, expectations. Of course we will make physical errors, strikeout, walk batters, and so forth because those are parts of the game. What we cannot afford to do is let our mistakes snowball and allow the things that we can control get away from us such as hustle, focus, and competitiveness. We must learn to expect these type of things from ourselves before we should ever expect to win with consistency.”
The Shoremen’s next home match is March 19 against Frostburg State at 3:30 p.m., followed by a double-header at home on Saturday against D’Youville. The double-header will be D’Youville’s first games of the season. The Shoremen look to hand Frostburg their first loss as they stand at 12-0 on the season.